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Who Can Override an IEP?

by Wrightslaw

The IEP team, including the parents, agreed that a student would receive homebased instruction for  part of the day for instruction in academic  subjects.  He would attend vocational courses at the school the rest of the day.  The school division superintendent decided to override the IEP team placement. Can he do that?

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act states that all decisions about a child’s special education program and placement are  made by the IEP team. Period.

The law does not provide for another individual, including a supervisor or superintendent, to overrule decisions made by the IEP team. Despite this, it is not unusual for a principal or superintendent to try to overrule decisions made by the IEP team.

Legal Requirements for IEPs

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition,Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition
20 U.S.C. 1414(d), p. 99.

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What are the superintendent’s objections? Why did he “override” the IEP team?

If you know the basis of his objection (fear or concern), you may be able to reassure him.

Meeting the Child’s Needs

The IEP should be based on the student’s unique needs. If the IEP team decides that the IEP you describe meets this child’s unique needs, the child can receive homebound instruction for academics, and attend vocational courses for part of the day.

It sounds like the placement decision by the IEP team was an effort to re-engage the student to return to school to complete his education and receive his IEP diploma.

  • Are there specific, measurable goals included in the IEP?
  • Is there a plan for the student to return school at a later date?

If the superintendent is successful in overturning the team’s plan, I doubt this boy will ever receive a diploma. Perhaps this is why the law does not allow decisions to be made for “administrative  convenience.”

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38 Comments on "Who Can Override an IEP?"


what happens if a parent disagrees with an iep decision, can they override their decision?


what if the district uses the reason a program is filled up?


What recourse do parents have or what course of action should be taken when Superintendent successfully overrides placement decisions by IEP Team?


We took ours to federal court!


My son has a primary disability of OHI. He brought a pocket knife to school and was subsequently suspended bearing a manifestation hearing and potential expulsion. It was determined at the manifestation hearing the behavioral incident was a manifestation of his disability. I was informed by the LEA at that time that regardless of the IEP teams decision for having my student back in his regular ed class, she would override the decision and mandate an interim alternate educational setting for up to 45 days. His pocket knife blade was right at 21/2 inches. I am familiar with other manifestation hearing decisions in our district, as I am a school counselor (and turned in the knife per my role). In no other situation, in our district has the school taken this route. What are our rights


I’m looking for a response to this concern. Can a state decide not to provide accommodations during a state assessment that are written into a child’s IEP? ex. I was told in my school system that the state of TN would not allow calculators during an assessment even if it was written in a child’s IEP. Is this legal?